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An update for the ColorVision PrintFIX
A major update for the PrintFIX?
The ColorVision PrintFIX has had a mixed press.
Some people have had excellent results, while others have had problems.
A year on from his original review Keith looks at where things have moved.
Note that this article was written in November 2004. It has been updated with newer product informations, but is largely left as written, for archive purposes, and for anyone finding an original PrintFIX in a drawer somewhere...
Using the original PrintFIX
Several people have contacted Keith after reading this article.
Keith has done some further testing and discovered some interesting tips on getting better profiles.
See more info at the bottom of the page
Update information (2012)
The PrintFIX PRO is a completely new system based on a spectrocolorimeter and a standalone software package.
It supports 3rd party inks and almost any printer you might want to try. It does not support the original PrintFIX scanner.
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The most obvious difference is that you have to send off for an update.
This is free when you supply your PrintFIX serial number.
You get a some new software and two copies of an all new calibration card.
Perhaps addressing some of the concerns about unit to unit variability, the new card has coloured patches...
PrintFIX scanner with the new software and calibration cards.
The new software also supports an increasing range of printers:
New printers added Feb 05 (and upgrade to V1.2.1)
CANON 9900i, CANON i80, CANON i9900(Updated), CANON iP8600, EPSON 4000 Matte, EPSON C60, EPSON C80, EPSON PXG5000, EPSON PXG900, EPSON PXG920, HP130
* Also supports MediaStreet Inc's Generations G-Chrome Inks and Lyson Inc's CavePaint & PhotoChrome Inks on these printer models. Epson 4000 currently supported for PhotoBlack only.
New printers May 05 (V1.2.2)
CANON i9950,CANON iP8500, SAMSUNG CLP-500, SAMSUNG CLP-550
The PDF manual is very clearly set out and you should read it carefully to make sure that you follow the correct procedure when using the PrintFIX. I tried out the new version using Photoshop CS under Mac OS X 10.3 and it installed fine (New** see notes at end of article).
The original black and white calibration card is still used for setting up the scanner, and I'd draw your attention to the suggestion in the manual that you recalibrate the unit each time you use it afresh. Measurements for profile building require accuracy and consistent equipment.
The coloured cards are used in the profile building part of the PrintFIX program, suggesting that this is an additional kind of calibration.
As I suggested in my original review there was space in the dialog box to add features... :-)
The screen shot above was taken while re-testing one of my original scans. I've tried a 'new' profile using one of the cheaper papers I used for the original review and the results were noticeably better. I've not done the extensive testing that I did before, so I can't really be certain that it was not just me being more careful in making the scan and print.
I welcome ColorVision's efforts to continue developing the PrintFIX and would suggest that you get your upgrade ordered asap.
If you are still wondering about the device, have a look at the "Is PrintFIX right for me" section of the ColorVision site and understand what it does. I use a RIP for printing on my Epson 9600 - this is far beyond what the PrintFIX was designed for -- especially with all the B/W work I do. I use PrintFIX profiles in some of my teaching and with some oddball papers that I use for a few prints on my Epson 1290.
I've had a few reports of people having difficulties with getting good profiles and one person was good enough to supply me with an actual test print and profile chart. I scanned the chart and generated a profile. Checking several images with Photoshop soft proofing showed that the image was too light and too yellow in the highlights.
I went back to the scan and found that due to slight slippage the patch block was not completely square. The sides and top of the block were parallel to the paper edges but the bottom edge was not.
Selecting the whole scan I distorted it slightly to make it square (It is obviously best to get a good scan in the first place...) I also used the clone tool to remove blemishes, dust, and slight print defects (ink dropouts for example)
Generating a new profile, I compared the two. The differences were quite noticeable, with the second profile giving a very good soft proof.
I've not had these problems with the profiles I've used with my Epson 1290, but if you are having difficulties, then maybe a closer look at your scans may show up some problems.
Please note that Northlight does not provide a remote profiling service! This was just a test
I also heard from someone with problems on a dual G5 Mac. I'd tried out V1.2 on my old G4 which I still use for quite a bit of work. On the G5 the installed software seemed to cause Photoshop some serious grief ("could not write file" error), but then I remembered I'd just upgraded the Mac to OS X 10.3.6 I ran the PrintFIX uninstaller, did a disk permissions check (no problems) reinstalled the PrintFIX 1.2 and restarted. This time no problems.
Just to be sure I installed V1.2 on my G4 laptop (10.3.6) once again Photoshop complained. Uninstalling and reinstalling seemed to fix things.
As such I'd suggest using the unistaller to get rid of old PrintFIX stuff first if you are on a Mac...
I should add that I've also had mails from people saying that their profiles were OK, but I'd appreciate comments either way.
The views in this article represent those of Keith Cooper.
Keith is always happy to discuss matters raised in his articles. You can Email Us
Northlight Images prides itself on its independence when giving advice. We do not sell hardware or software and have no direct commercial links with any of the software or hardware vendors that may be mentioned here. See our Review Policy for more information.
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